Friday, November 30, 2012

Glancer Magazine

Glancer magazine arrived in my mailbox today! I'm really happy. They didn't edit which they said was a possibility and there's a nice large photo of the book's cover. I was worried that it would be small and people would not be able to see it. It should be interesting to see if any of the bookstores in town actually get copies. Right now the only place that it is available is Pieceful Heart Fabrics in Lisle.  Life is good!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Mind Mapping

One of themes for this (our 16th) round for Postmark'd Art was "Maps." I decided to do a play on Mind Mapping which is a diagram used to visually outline information. I had learned mind maps from a journal class I took from Corless Brown Ferrara in 1993. Being a strongly visual person, mind maps are a great tool. Of course, the minute I finished my postcards I found the perfect brain material in my stash.

I love serendipity. Writer Elizabeth Berg said, "Sometimes serendipity is just intention unmasked." I was looking through the December/January issue of Quilting Arts Magazine and was pleasantly surprised to discover that they are having a Reader Challenge called "Map It Out." Check out page 70.  And while I have hundreds of things that I should be doing, I decided to get right to work on my quilt. Here is what I have so far. Please let me know if you decide to enter a quilt too!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

12/12/12 More Thoughts

Want to start your 12" by 12" 12/12/12 quilt today? Knock yourself out.
Start your piece on 12/12/12 and don't get it finished until sometime after the date. That's okay too.
Say you're going to do it then don't. Life happens.

It looks like quite a few people will be creating pieces on their birthdays or to celebrate the birthday of someone else. Excellent!

I am not a quilt police. I am not here to judge. Just want to have some fun, commemorate a fun moment in time and provide an opportunity to share.

I don't want any say on what you create or how you do it. The only "rule" is that it should be 12" by 12". I wanted to keep it simple, easy and in theme.

I would love for those who have a blog to advertise the other people with blogs those who are participating. Send me your info and I will share it. I'll even start now:

Barbara Wester 
Sylvia Lewis

A magazine might be interested in publishing an article. Depends on the quilts which is understandable so keep this in mind.

You can sign up any time, even on 12/12/12. Don't forget to send me your full name and a link to your blog (if you have one).

Let the fun begin!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

12/12/12 Project- Interested?

In 15 days, it will be December 12, 2012 or 12/12/12. We won't see this kind of date happen again for a long time. I think it would be fun if we created 12 inches by 12 inches pieces on that day and shared them. It can be on anything that you wish--what you're doing that day, the number 12 and it's meaning to you, etc. Are you game? If so, let me know.

I am so happy people are interested! Liz Nutter shared that the next time this will happen is January 1, 2101.

I am thinking that if you have a blog, send me a link and I'll post it when I reveal mine. If you don't have a blog, I will gladly post your quilt. Other suggestions are welcome. I am excited!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Santa Quilt Continues

I like to heavily quilt the background when applique is involved. This makes the applique stand out. I'm not planning how I will quilt each block. This block by Jean Cloyd was particularly fun to do. I'm having fun with the beards too. Jerrianne Corbin's pieces block provided a great opportunity.  The quilting is more than one-third completed so I might even have this done before Christmas!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Santa 1996

When I lived in Houston, I belonged to a couple of bees. In one bee, we took turns making blocks for each other. Since I got the month of December, I decided on Santas. This was in 1996. I asked that the blocks be able to be divided by 3 (not including the seam allowance). I thought it would make for a more interesting quilt. Unfortunately, several people in the group didn't understand the concept or simply did not read my instructions. At the time, I found it frustrating and set the blocks aside. I don't think I realized it would be sixteen years before I got them out again. Less than a week ago, I had a dream about hanging the Santa quilt with my three year old grandson. He isn't born yet (due in January) but he sure was cute in my dream. Obviously, the blocks must have been on my mind. I dug them out of my UFO box and put them together. It was an interesting challenge and I made it work! It seems strange to be doing something so traditional.  I love looking at the blocks and remembering the people who made them. It's amazing how the blocks truly reflect their creators. Houston was such a wonderful time in my life and having this quilt to hang each Christmas will help keep those good times with incredible women alive for me. I also think it might (remember I'm say "might") spur me on to finish some other UFOs. I am not one who feels guilty about having or getting rid of UFOs. I'm happy I kept these and hope the women who made the blocks will be happy too. How do you feel about your UFOs?

Friday, November 23, 2012

Pottery Graveyard: Holding On or Letting Go?

My son Nathaniel was one of my inspirations for beginning a serious study of ceramics/pottery. He liked the idea of creating a "pottery graveyard" for pots or other creations that simply did not work out and he contributed a couple of his pots (red and blue being one). There is something quite satisfying about breaking the pots on the stones. Not all pieces are smashed. If you look closely you'll see one of my feathers where the glazed did not stick. It's a modest beginning, but I am sure it will grow quickly. For me this is a way to re-purpose and create something interesting out of learning pieces of art.

Tuesday night at open studio a few of us discussed our feelings about our first efforts. I was surprised by how many people shared that they have everything they have ever made. I was even more surprised by people's reaction to my graveyard. I have not objection to people keeping everything. This is just another example of process vs product. It just has to do with the objectives of why people create. I don't need to see my beginning pieces to remind me that I have grown/improved. I can remember when I wanted to hold tight to things that I made. It's probably good that I have been able to let go or there would only be small pathways through my house. Actually I am feeling a need to to get rid of stuff I am not using, to continue my efforts to simplify which is always a struggle for me. How do you balance your needs? Are you a keeper? Has letting go gotten easier for you?

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Beading: Ten Hours and Counting

Yesterday I hung out with my friend Barbara and we decided to work on quilts instead of our usual Christmas gifts (denial has set in). I was able to get the quilting and facing done. When I got home, I decided to begin adding bead (sorry I know they are tough to see in the photo. Do remember that you can click on the photo and it get bigger.). People are always asking me how long I spend doing different things so I decided to keep track of the time I spent beading this quilt. I'm using size 11 bronze colored seed beads from Japan that I purchased in 2001 (I know this because Rings and Things always put the dates on things.). I only have 2-3 more places that I want to add beads so I should be able to put a fork in it and call it done soon.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Clay Feathers

As a reader of this blog, you know I love collecting and making feathers. Since I am now playing with clay, I decided to see whether or not I could make them. Here is my first attempt. I'm happy. When I picked them up at the studio on Saturday, it was interesting to me that the Resident Artists liked them and everyone took turns selecting which one they like the best. I found it interesting that the middle two got the most votes. Which one do you like?

On the plane ride home from Galveston, I was fortunate to run into Ingrid Thomas-Hooker a middle school art teacher originally from Indiana and now living in Houston. Being able to discuss art and clay with someone made the trip home a delight. I certainly hope that our paths cross again. She is someone who I think could make a great friend.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Catching Up

The Island Quilters Guild is filled with the most wonderful women. Thank you! I truly wish I could have spent more time with you. I did find it interesting that two people came up to me after my lecture/trunk show and said, "I just love how you do anything that you want [when it comes to quilts]." My response was, "What is stopping you?" I really didn't get an answer but it did cause me to think. What stops us from doing what we want?

I want to thank Sharlene Ferrin for being chauffeur.  Thank you to Debbie Shabot for sending me the promised photo and encouraging words. 

As you can see, I was able to applique many stones to complete that part of this wall hanging. I'm more than ready to begin quilting then move on to beading.

View from my hotel window

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Stones, Handwork and Relaxation

Handwork is relaxing for me. I like to travel with an applique project. I have had some of the best conversations because of my handwork. I'll never forget the crowd I had around me on the plane in Frankfort, Germany, on one of my trips to Georgia. I even sold a small quilt I had been beading! Anyway, my family always teases me that I finish too much before the trip. It's true. Two days ago, I cut out the stones for this new quilt and last night I finished what I had cut out. Will have to add cutting out more stones to my to do list for today. I'm still not sure I will even be allowed to applique on the airplane. While I can bring 4 inch scissors, needles are another story and it's totally up to airport security whether or not I can carry scissors (I lost my favorite fold-up scissors on one trip from O'Hare Airport. For this trip, I'm flying out of Midway.). Anyway, I am liking and enjoying my new stone quilt. There are still a lot more stones to add before it is done. The discharged piece was created in one of my workshops as a demonstration piece in Georgia (country not state) and it feels good and fitting to be using it. I'll share more as it progresses. In the mean time, share with me what you do to relax on trips. By the way, if I can't applique, I'll probably write.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Galveston, Texas Here I Come!

I will be giving my lecture Connecting Cultures: An American Quiltmaker's Pilgrimage on Thursday to the Island Quilters Guild in Galveston, Texas. If you are in the area, please stop by and introduce yourself. When I lived in Houston, I loved going to Galveston so I am looking forward to seeing the island once again and sharing my story with the guild.

Chalkboards are so wonderful. This one is in my kitchen and makes me smile every time I pass by it. The message was left my my great niece Makayla who is 7 years old. What a great goal for me to attai--loving everyone.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Moon Mask and Geeting Out of a Creative Funk

I am excited that I was able to create a mask out of clay that could also be embellished. My first attempt was broken before it could be fired. I learned a great lesson.  When the next sessions begins in January, I think I will attempt to make a few more masks. I continue to think about how I can combine clay and fiber. Hopefully an idea will come. My attitude concerning broken or unsuccessful pieces is that I am learning and that I can always create something else.  Tonight is my last class and while I am sad, I do know January will be here before I know it!

Over the weekend I had several conversations with friends about what to do when ideas don't come and when one is in a creative funk. This year has been such a highly creative year for me and I think several things played into this. One is attitude. Another is being kind to myself. I understand that periods of high creative activity are followed by a period of recharging.

However when I have been stuck, I do know that doing anything creative always helps me even it it means making a tote bag. I think collaboration is another way to jump start creativity as well as joining a group that does trades. Another trick I use is to do something physical--go for a long walk, mow the lawn, clean my house. Writing in my journal which always seems to involve painting, drawing, etc. and keeping lists also work for me. Taking up something new like pottery/ceramics has certainly fed my creative spirit. I think the part I has excited me the most is the problem solving/learning that has occurred. What have you done to get out of a creative funk?

Friday, November 9, 2012

How Do You Open Yourself to Inspiration?

"Reflect" ATCs
Recently changes have been made in a couple of the groups I am in that do trades. One now as a rule that if you miss the deadline but still get your work out before the next trade deadline you can only sign up for one group. Another group does not even assign the people for trades until proof that that work is done. This saddens me. Deadlines use to be such great motivators. Commitments were not always kept but those people generally did not stick around.

So, how do you open yourself to inspiration? Without inspiration work either does not get done or becomes stagnant. Do you find yourself at a loss of ideas?

Many years ago I decided to simplify my life. This is still an ongoing process and I suspect will be one that I struggle with for the rest of my life. It is getting easier. I can now say, "No," to people and things that don't support me and what I want to accomplish in my life. I limit my time on the Internet. I don't answer the phone if I'm creating. I seldom have my cell phone on when I am out. I want to be present both in my work and with the people in my life. I love taking hot baths, often reading until the water begins to turn cold. I get great ideas while in the tub and surprisingly while mowing the lawn.

Rita Mae Brown is one of my favorite writers. She says, "Creativity comes from trust. Trust your instincts. And never hope more than you work." And of course there is my favorite Pablo Picasso quote, "Inspiration exists, but it has to find us working."

Belonging and participating in online exchange groups has been so amazingly beneficial to me. I've been exposed to some incredible artists Excitement from the new challenges causes me to instantly jump in and start creating. Getting commitments off my plate early insures that I create things that I am proud of sharing.

Okay, I don't want to forget to share something about my "Reflect" ATCs. This month's theme for Arts in the Cards is the color "Lake." I love playing with watercolors and playing is exactly what I do. I have little desire to become a true watercolor artist. I just like making backgrounds and seeing what I can do. What I discovered was I could copy the backgrounds, print them on presentation paper which makes them a little shiny, cut them up and still save my favorite pieces! For these cards, I also used embossing plates (thank you Marie Z. Johansen for turning me one to these) and I created my own rub-on transfers to add the word "Reflect." I love rub-on transfers and am so thankful to Grafix in Maples Heights, Ohio, for making it possible.

Now go and create!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Glancer Magazine

Just heard that my book will be featured in the December issue of Glance Magazine! I think this is great timing and hopefully people will buy the book!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Ransom Note Postcard

I am bone tired and still feeling a need to be creative. I don't know what it is about cutting letters and words out of magazines but it makes me happy. As a member of Postmark'd Art, I was thrilled when Typography was one of this round's themes. I hadn't planned to make another ransom note and yet it seemed like the perfect activity for today. I sat on my couch, watched old movies and created this postcard. It's just the first step. I have to decide whether to use TAP (Transfer Artist Paper) or print it directly to fabric. Too tired to decide tonight. Happy and hope I can get a good night's sleep. Here's to creative dreams for all of us.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Creativity Lesson Three- Your Heart's Desire

“The heart that breaks open can contain the whole universe.” Joanna Macy

Yes, I now realize that yesterday was the first of the month. A part of me is simply in denial about the passing of time but I also have not been hearing much from people concerning the lessons and no one has shared any work with me so I thought maybe there wasn't real interest. I stand corrected. My only request is that you do share the work you are creating. It's good to be part of a community that supports your efforts. Happy creating!

Assignment #3 - Heart’s Desire

In this assignment, we will explore our heart’s desire by making a heart quilt.  You will need to take some time to think about just what you desire (time to get out your journal) then decide how to express it.  Maybe you want a great garden so use floral fabrics and other gardening things to show that desire. Maybe you want to be comfortable with color so make a colorful heart.  Maybe you want to take life more lightly so make a winged heart. Want more organization? You get the idea. It can be as abstract as you want as long as you understand the meaning.

Outing: Think about a place that expresses or helps you get to your heart’s desire. Go there. Make the time. This is important!

Suggested reading: My Name is Asher Lev by Chaim Potok (novel)
                                    The Invitation by Oriah Mountain Dreamer

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Feeling Blue- Indigo Dyeing and Spirit Rattles

Created with sea shells collected from Aruba
 While researching cameras, my dryer died. It was only three years old. No fun. Good news is I have my sewing machine back and I did not have to sell my first born. Still haven't bought the new camera so I'm using my son's tiny  Olympus and am finding the colors not quite true so bear with me.

I have had a love affair with indigo for as long as I can remember. I think I was in junior high school when I learned a little of its history. I learned more about the dark side of indigo from Merry Silber. I encourage you to read the Quilters' S.O.S. - Save Our Stories interview that I conducted of her and see her wonderful indigo quilt. She was a collector. She died not long ago.

Anyway, I had been meaning to try indigo dyeing for years and decided that there was not better time than now. Dyeing with indigo is a little different than regular dyeing. There is a "flower" on top of the dye that must be preserved. It's removed during the dyeing process and replaced once you're done. The vat of dye can last 2-3 days and you have to have a lid. You can't let the fabric sink to the bottom which meant holding the fabric in the vat. A tad boring to say the least but it was so much fun watching the fabric turn from green to blue (takes about 20 minutes). It is also important to prevent oxygen from getting into the dye which means squeezing the fabric bundles. I was successful most of the time. I do know that next time I am going to be better prepared (have all my folding and rubber banding done ahead of time. That said, I try to strike when the spirit moves me and I am not disappointed. Now I have about 2.5 yards of fabric in various sizes ready to use in my next indigo quilts! I used both PFD (prepared for dyeing) cotton and dupioni silk.
dupioni silk folded, small piece of wood rubber banded around the bundle

I am becoming a better potter. Still not great on the wheel but I am improving. I can't believe there is only two more classes left. Next session does not start until January. I think I will suffer some withdrawal! As I shared before, I love hand building and here is a couple of my Spirit Rattles. The white one has been bisque fired and is ready for glazing. The blue one is ready and waiting for a new home.